Inner City Meets Ecovillage

11 June 2007

In early June the Findhorn Foundation and Community were excited to host 24 boys aged 12 to 15 from Rokeby School, a multicultural, multifaith inner city school in east London. The school was on the verge of being closed down three years ago but students and staff have worked extraordinarily hard to turn it around. A new building is planned for 2009/2010 and the boys were clear that they wanted their new school to be eco-friendly, to have a strong place in the local community and to be based on a new respect policy that they had created.

Willie Deighan, the Deputy Head, inspired by the positive approach of a conference he attended at the Foundation in September 2007, What Schools Are Getting Right, wanted to bring his students to Findhorn so they could experience the community and an ecological lifestyle, and train in nonviolent communication.

Amazingly, the students raised ££7,500 from the Newham Youth Parliament and a further ££15,000 from the educational organisation, London Challenge and Willie’s dream became a reality. Their week at Findhorn was spent engaged in educational sessions which included learning nonviolent communication techniques and how eco-technologies work, visiting a local school, sharing with each other in circle time, eating and socialising with the community and working in the Foundation’s maintenance and garden teams.

The two members of the Foundation’s staff who held the week, spoke of the resounding success of the programme – “It was like holding a tiger by its tail – wild and full of excitement! We are still in a state of laughter and wonderment. Each day felt like an exciting football match where waves of exhilaration and happiness washed over us all. The boys had a fantastic time! It was an honour to facilitate such an amazing group of teenagers and their teachers and we were impressed by how they have worked over the last year to create a new respect policy to support an active role in how the school is run.”

Even more wonderful – the young people will share what they learned here by training students from other schools in Newham almost immediately.

Hosting this kind of group provides a great opportunity for all of us at Findhorn to serve in new ways. We are also grateful to Rokeby School for coming here, showing once again how relevant the Foundation is to the needs of a multicultural 21st century Britain and, indeed, to a rich and diverse world.

ROKEBY RESPECT POLICY

We start with ourselves
We give respect to receive it.

We take pride in ourselves and in our community
We never waste or damage things.

We care for each other
We choose not to use language or action that will hurt others.

We are kind and thoughtful
We include the needs of others in our thinking and action instead of thinking solely of ourselves.

We listen; not just wait to speak
We try to hear and understand others and we talk calmly and politely.

We are fair, honest and work as a team
We tell the truth and we take responsibility for ourselves and others.

Rokeby Student Council – January 2007

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